Smart City: If you build it for the People, they will come

Smart City

Government needs to take a lead in removing barriers to innovation and facilitating collaboration between multiple diverse actors. ~ The Smart City Market

Challenges of building a Smart City

Smart City efforts are being initiated by cities across the globe. Regardless of the size of effort and investment, enabling smart technologies at large scale have a number of challenges.

Here are some issues outlined in assessments by Gov.UK:

  • A lack of funding for multiple Smart City initiatives
  • Creating a common and long term vision that is sustainable across government agencies regardless of who is in office
  • High cost of investment in new technologies and its implementation
  • Collaboration across different procurement and agency policies to ensure high volume cost savings for technologies and associated services
  • A common user experience and transparency across services regardless of type of service, whom it serves and which agency manages it
  • Common understanding of privacy, data management and safety policies across agencies
  • Regulations and legislation that encourage innovation and facilitate growth while serving citizens and businesses alike
  • A business model that serves the needs of citizens first

Barcelona has created a Smart City PMO (Personnel Management Office) which coordinates all the projects in the city that are classified under the smart city tag. This has meant transitioning from silo’d work to “transversal” work. The city has produced an early strategy document which attempts to set up the basis of the smart city strategy in the city. Ms. Lopez Ventura claims: “I think that this change to get all departments working towards the same strategy is quite new.”~ Global Innovators, International Case Studies on Smart Cities

A Model for Innovation and Collaboration:
Major League Baseball Internet and Interactive

MLB.com was originally created by investments from 30 team owners and a mandate from the league with a total cost of $77M. Originally, it built and managed a common user experience for all baseball fans while pursuing digital revenue streams including ticket sales, subscriptions, sponsorships, merchandising, etc. MLB.com also has a media channel called MLB Advanced Media (MLBAM) centred around the game of baseball across all media channels and devices. Estimated value of IPO in 2005 for MLBAM was $2.5 Billion. Current estimates are not available as MLBAM has no plans to go public any time soon.

So what makes MLB a model for innovation and collaboration:

  • MLB Interactive has one coherent mission mandated by the league and agreed upon by team owners:To be the internet and interactive branch of baseball league.
  • It collaborates with
    • players
    • owners
    • leagues (including NBA)
    • tech partners (Apple)
    • non-tech partners (cities across North America)
    • non-tech branches (MLB retail)
    • television and radio
    • online media
    • gaming partners
    • music bands
    • sports networks
    • and more…
      to generate revenue and serve the fans.
  • It serves all segments of baseball fans…from season ticket holders to fringe fans who occasionally dip into the game on their mobile devices.
  • It is autonomous in its decision making about technology investments and innovation.

Without question, BAM’s success stems in part from its autonomy. “It’s unlike other things in baseball where someone is meddling,” says Gary Gillette, coeditor of ESPN’s Baseball Encyclopedia. Bowman, who answers to a board of club owners, is free to make decisions about pursuing new devices or new technologies. ~ MLB Advanced Media’s Bob Bowman is Playing Digital Hardball. And he’s Winning

  • It is innovative in both identifying opportunities to serve baseball fans and in creating new ways to enjoy the game. A good example is PITCHf/x.
  • They build technology for the digital fans. User experience spans all devices, technologies and use of data to enhance the experience.
  • Cost is managed centrally thus allowing for better assessment of investments in technologies including ROI.

BAM’s business is more multifaceted than YouTube’s; [in 2009], it sold more than 35 million MLB tickets, more than half of the league’s inventory. It streams more live video than any other spots entity — and any other company ~ MLB Advanced Media’s Bob Bowman is Playing Digital Hardball. And he’s Winning

  • Privacy and data management policies are all led centrally and the fans are never in doubt about safety.

The MLB internet and interactive business has grown to BAM proportions simply because it sits outside the game. Yet it still serves the game, the stakeholders and ultimately the fans using the latest smart technology.

MLBAM on CBS Segment

Click to Watch

Challenging Status Quo Models of Smart City Initiatives

Building a Smart City is not a two-term proposition. It is an ongoing effort to change the way city folk live and work by actively using smart technologies on a daily basis. Smart City effort requires not only an innovative and collaborative effort from inside different government agencies but also a willingness to engage and serve citizens transparently and work with partners across the public/private horizon.

Mr. Godfrey, Government CIO for Hong Kong Smart City initiative explains “The vision is that our clients should find the government service as convenient, as efficient, as pleasurable to use as the best services they get from the private sector. ~ Global Innovators, International Case Studies on Smart Cities

MLB demonstrates a model for collaboration and innovation in technology all while serving fans with unforgettable experiences that are emphatically rooted in tradition as they often are within a city.

Smart City effort should be approached in the same way. An independent partnership between government agencies that are looking to use smart technologies to improve the experience for their customer: The citizens of a Smart City.

Why? Because it will enable:

  • Singular accountability with multi-agency, business and citizen stakeholders
  • A common vision of success across agencies and for perpetuity
  • Autonomous decision making by singularly accountable
  • Common and transparent experience for citizens across services
  • Cost consolidation, driving ROI and investment transparency
  • Integrated technologies across agencies with citizen-focused delivery
  • Common privacy and data policies across agencies
  • A need to drive collaboration and innovation to be successful
  • Serving the direct customer: Citizens of Smart City

The real challenge for Smart City initiatives is to find the balance between

End

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UPDATE: December 11, 2014
HBO to Use MLB Advanced Media for Stand-Alone Streaming Product
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OPEN WRX Consulting Inc. is committed to helping companies improve competitiveness through effective decision making by applying strategy to tech solutions, building plans that create value and sharing knowledge that drives innovation.

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Why Planning Matters

Winston Churchill, 1941 by Yousuf Karsh

There is in the act of preparing, the moment you start caring.

~Winston Churchill

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Strategic Planning: Why Boeing wants to do it like #AppleLive

Title

“Rather than take on expensive, gargantuan projects like the 787 Dreamliner, which CEO Jim McNerney characterized as ‘moon shots,’ he said he wants Boeing ‘to be more like Apple’ with its carefully planned development strategies on successful product launches.”The Street 

Start At The Top

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ImageApple has traditionally used “stories” to communicate Mission and Vision statements to the world. These statements are specific, achievable and realistic. The words are simple and easy to understand.  Everyone knows what Apple means when it says “high quality” or “low cost” or “easy to use” in reference to Apple products. Apple’s statements hone in on “products” and “customers”.  Both employees and business partners get it and without asking the question: What do you mean by….?

Recommendations:

  • Mention products and customers
  • Keep it simple
  • Be realistic
  • Tell it like it can be done by anyone
  • Do it like it can’t be done by anyone

Build Products Like it’s The Only ONE

Apple is master of design. Design thinking rules the culture regardless of function.  New product ideas become an internal ‘start-up’ and report directly to executive team on progress. A detailed product development plan is created based on Apple New Product Process that lays out stages, responsible people, and when each stage is to be completed. Exec Team reviews progress every Monday on each of the new products. The “EPM mafia” is engaged. This includes an engineering program manager and a global supply manager who work together to produce a product with ‘what is best for the product’ in mind. Once built, the product is tested. If it is not ‘right’, it is sent through the production process again. Each iteration of product is reviewed by Exec Team and commented on. If it is unsatisfactory…it is sent back for redesign and production. Packaging is designed and tested after production cycle is complete. ‘Rules of the Road’ provide a framework for every stage of release of the product to the public. More info available in Inside Apple: How America’s Most Admired–and Secretive–Company Really Works by Adam Lashinsky.

An overarching competitive advantage Apple retains that others in the industry have not been able to replicate is CULTURE OF LOYALTY. Interestingly enough, this loyalty permeates not only Apple’s employees but also its customers. This is why Apple customers line up to buy new products. The law of Scarcity working overtime. (Check out today’s #AppleLive event line up)

Recommendations:

  • Don’t let realities like costs hold design back
  • Exec team must be directly involved
  • Prototype and test, repeat
  • Be physically there on the production floor for every prototype
  • Inspire Loyalty from managers and employees

Taking New Product to Customers

Product launch is not a function at Apple, it is a company wide event that unfolds on Apple fans and bystanders alike. It is the best example of “Social Proof” enabled by a company. Many tech companies including Microsoft and Alibaba now mimic Apple’s product launch. And it works!

Rumours also play an important role in spreading news before it actually happens. Recently Apple has been in the news about devices that will enable Healthy Living. And the news is so well permeated in the media that the rumours alone fuelled a tech surge in the markets.

Recommendations:

  • Build a cult following for your products
  • Spread rumours about what you are working on
  • Have a party at new product launch!

SWOT Analysis

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Financials

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Source: WSJ.com

 

Market Share

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Source: Bloomberg

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Kiran Sohi’s career has focused on leading companies to success by enabling strategic decision making. While her passion is Strategic Planning, her work spans a number of corporate strategy disciplines including IT, marketing, finance and operations.

Prior to finding OPEN WRX Consulting, Kiran was a Strategic Planning consultant at CIBC and Business Consultant at Innovapost, where her clients included Canada Post and Purolator. She also had the pleasure of working as a Digital Strategist for NBA, Kraft, Samsung and Travelex.

Visit openwrxconsulting.com for more info.

Team Based Strategic Planning Process

 

Strategic Planning Process that incorporates both strategy and business planning processes. The Bottom Up | Top Down Approach can be attributed to “Team Based Planning” by C. Davis Fogg. I have modified the process to provide both an alignment with strategic solutions development and digital/IT roadmap planning.

Integrated Business Planning Process

 

Integrated Business Planning Process: Provides a good summary of all Business Planning, Strategic Planning and Operational Planning. This work is entirely contributed to Charles P. Sitkin in affiliation with Carnegie Mellon University.